Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Prediction: Basel vs Manchester United

Verdict: Zlatan Ibrahimovic to score anytime

Best Odds: 31/21

Bookmaker: 888sport

Premier League heavyweights Manchester United travel to Switzerland to finish the job in the group stage and secure their place in the knockouts. Jose Mourinho’s troops only need a point to secure the top-table finish but they will know better than to underestimate the Basel side.

Basel

If anyone knows how to stage an upset against Manchester United than that’s definitely Swiss giants Basel. It was in Switzerland that Basel knocked Manchester United out of the group stage of Europe’s elite competition following the scintillating 3-3 draw, back in the 2011/12 season.

Manchester United have moved past on that disappointing times and changed quite a bit, but so did Basel who will nevertheless look to cause a similar chock this time around. The Swiss side need a positive result at their St. Jacob-Park in order to remain in the running for the elimination stage of the competition. Basel currently find themselves sitting in second, level on points with Russian giants CSKA Moscow and are in desperate need of at least a point. Should they secure it, it would be their first draw this season in the Champions League after two wins and as many defeats after four rounds of competition. Securing that much-needed point against a side of Manchester United’s stature will be easier said than done, more so knowing that Basel are in the middle of an inconsistent stretch which saw them win only one of their last four matches in all competitions.

Team News

Back-up goalkeeper Germano Vailati is out of contention with a shoulder injury together with Taulant Xhaka who is suspended for the occasion.

The 28-year-old forward Ricky van Wolfswinkel will not be able to help his teammates as he’s been ruled out with an injury since October.

Manchester United

Red Devils have thus far gone through the group stage of the new Champions League without any issues and they sit top of the pack with maximum 12 points after four matches and a compelling goal difference of 10:1.

Jose Mourinho’s men have eagerly anticipated their return to Europe’s elite competition and have thus far been especially motivated to show they deserve a place among the continent’s very best. The Red Devils have made a positive introduction to the Wednesday’s match with a compelling 4-1 victory over Newcastle United which marked the return of the club’s two biggest stars – Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Manchester United will have a couple of opportunities to close the deal in the group stage but will be keen to qualify for the next stage of the competition as early as Wednesday. Portuguese tactician Jose Mourinho should use this forthcoming clash to provide an important run out to certain players that lack minutes and this could turn out to be an important advantage for United as fringe – and injured – players tend to do their very best to prove worth and earn their place in the starting line-up.

Team News

Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba are both at disposal following their injury layoffs.

The availability of Marcos Rojo has provided Mourinho with an important selection boost, whereas Luke Shaw is also back in contention. Carrick and Jones remain sidelined, meanwhile.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Man United won all of their four Champions League matches this season
  • Red Devils only conceded once thus far in the competition
  • Group A sides are yet to draw a single match in group stages
  • Man United lost two of their last three matches on the road
  • Basel won 4 of last six home games in all competitions

Conclusion

Manchester United are given an opportunity to extend their perfect Champions League and there is no doubt they will give their absolute best to secure their top group spot in Switzerland. Basel are known to be a potential hazard but Red Devils are a more experienced side with better individuals all of which can create a huge difference on the pitch.

Verdict: Zlatan Ibrahimovic to score anytime

Best Odds: 31/21

Bookmaker: 888sport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Milos Markovic


Formerly a Chief Editor at the largest sports site in Serbia Sportske.net, Milos Markovic is an avid football writer who contributes to a variety of online football magazines – most prominently Soccernews.com and Futbolgrad.com. His feature articles, editorials, interviews and match analyses have provided informed opinion and views, helping the football aficionados keep up to date on relevant events in world football.

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